Why is this? All children are born with a natural confidence. Having worked with them for years, I can tell you that if you compliment any (verbal) child between the ages of 2 and 5, he or she will always respond with 'yes', 'I know', or 'I'm good at that'. It's genuinely felt, too. Perhaps a young child's self-confidence is a little extreme, but still, why does none of that carry over into later childhood and adulthood?
Why is it that one can appear so poised, and feel so empty inside? Why do you say, 'I'm beautiful', 'I'm awesome' and think, 'I'm ugly', 'I'm worthless'? Why do you applaud achievement, and yet never even realize that you have things worth applauding too? Why do you compare yourself to a dead body, and find yourself wanting?
I've been reading up on reactive attachment disorder, and I've noticed that as people, we've all developed this. Reactive attachment disorder is defined as a disorder that occurs when a child wasn't given proper attention, care, and love as a child and infant, and consequently has learned that they are unworthy of love, that all people are unworthy of love.
RAD kids can sometimes be withdrawn, destructive, detached, but often, especially as they get older, they pretend they're normal to fit in. They can be particularly charming, but it's not true. Inside, this is just a way they function - but inside, they're just expressing particular disdain for the world around them. And aren't we the same, experiencing this same spiritual RAD?
Every one of us was born desperately hungry for love. And as we grow up, we realize that we aren't ever going to find it. Even the most loving family, the mostly godly home, the most receptive friends can't replace the ache that every human feels - that dull throb that cries out for someone who will care about them, no matter what. We try to fill that hole by forcing love, but it only gets worse. Finally, we react to the situation in the way that we think is most logical - we withdraw. No one can love us, no one deserves us to love them. We detach and see the world as an empty, hollow shell. Why bother with anything else? People no longer hold charm. Their gentle murmurs as they whisper together are as quiet and meaningless as wind in dry grass. Their peacock displays are gaudy, and ugly. And you are no better.
But by ignoring what is true, the water under the surface, the rumbling under the shell, we haven't made it go away. Our confidence doesn't affect the fact that we want to know others, and we want to be known by others. Something in our circles of understanding cries out, "I was made for more than this! I want to live! I want to be beyond myself!" But who shall deliver us from this body of death? How can we hide! How can we fight! And yet we do.
I realize something else now. This longing for perfect love explains one thing clearly to me: we were created for perfect love, and there is a Creator who is willing. We long for what is beyond us because we were created for something beyond.
My dear friend often quotes this verse to me, and today I realize its potency:
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know, just as I also am known.
I want to be known as I am known in perfection. I will live my life as a whole person - more than a shell, or waters swiftly moving, but as a statue that is not broken.
May I encourage you to be full? Be, and I will love you. But nonetheless, Christ is love, and God is truth. Is this not the confidence we have in him?